At the beginning of this month, hundreds of August 1 speeches were held in festive marquees with the smell of bratwurst in the air. And as every year, the infamous reports on the nation’s well-being generally unfolded in three clearly defined acts: Act One, the country has been extremely successful so far. Act Two, the environment has changed. And Act Three, for Switzerland to remain successful, something has to change.
This laconic observation is in no way intended to mock these speeches. Their structure is chosen with good reason. It’s precisely because Switzerland has repeatedly and effectively adapted to a changing environment that it’s highly successful today, from both a social and an economic point of view. And that makes the second and third acts the exciting part of every August 1 speech: What does the new environment look like? And what needs to be changed?
These are precisely the questions the researchers at Avenir Suisse work on all year round, not only on National Day. Since its foundation, the think tank has been contributing to the public debate with new ideas on how to manage economic, technological, and social change. In doing so, Avenir Suisse’s researchers come up with ways to tackle overdue reforms or inspire new ideas. Beyond that, a think tank is a place of education: Former Avenir Suisse researchers work on concrete institutional adjustments on a daily basis in the public and private sector.
The core business of Avenir Suisse is therefore the ongoing development of the successful Swiss model. To this end, the think tank must constantly evolve. As of this week, I’m excited to tackle this task as Avenir Suisse’s new director alongside a highly motivated team. As a former head of research and senior fellow, I’m well aware of the successful work of the three previous directors. But past performance is no guarantee of future success; what applies to Switzerland also applies to Avenir Suisse.
With the change in personnel at the head of the think tank, we’ll be reviewing existing structures and vehicles and rethinking them as needed. So in the coming months you’ll be seeing some changes. I invite you to engage in this process and share your feedback on our work. This is the only way can we improve efficiently and effectively.
Despite the changes, however, one thing is non-negotiable: Avenir Suisse’s core mission must not be altered. As an independent think tank, we will continue to develop market-oriented, liberal, and research-based ideas for the future of Switzerland. We want to accompany economic and social change critically, creatively, and constructively, so that August 1 speeches may continue to begin with the same first act in the years to come.